By Rochester Falcon Watcher Carol P.
Spring is in the air… at least for one day here in Rochester, NY. Temps made it up to a balmy 59 degrees (F). While I was downtown on my watch, the street temperature said 56 degrees (F). The sun was shining and love was in the air for our downtown pair. Well kind of. lol
I love this time of year. February is usually the time we’ll start seeing courtship behavior between our falcons. When Mariah and Kaver were our downtown pair, February 14th was usually the day that Kaver would return from his migration. The watchers would gather downtown, hoping for a glimpse of his return. I remember being there to see his return to the Kodak Tower one year. Mariah was waiting, and when they were reunited it was awesome to see. Loud greetings filled the air as they soared together in bonded flight. It wasn’t long before they renewed their bonds on top of the High Falls stack. OK, enough reminiscing. :)
I headed downtown after finding no falcons at the the Brighton Site. From the Broad St Bridge (BSB), I found Dot.ca on top of the Times Square Bldg (TSB) below the northeast wing. He was directly above the TSB nest box.
He took off while I was checking out the river, so I didn’t see which direction he took. From in front of the Radisson, I spotted both Beauty and Dot.ca on the Ellwanger & Barry Bldg (E&B). Beauty was on the right side ledge with leftovers and Dot.ca was on the left side, keeping an eye on her.
I found a parking spot across the street from the E&B bldg. It was very windy there.
A passerby asked me if I was looking at birds and I was happy to explain that he was seeing our resident Peregrine Falcons. I focused on Beauty while she filled her crop with pigeon leftovers.
Beauty finished her meal and stepped forward. That’s when Dot.ca saw his chance to get his share. He flew over and landed behind her. After a couple minutes, Beauty took off and Dot.ca followed, carrying a small piece of prey. Dot.ca took the prey to the northeast box on the Frontier Communication Tower (FCT) and Beauty landed next to him.
I got a closer look from the City Hall parking lot.
Dot.ca quickly finished his snack and both he and Beauty took off. From the Andrews St Bridge (ASB), I found that they had both returned to the Ellwanger and Barry Bldg. This time Dot.ca was on the right side ledge, looking for leftovers and Beauty was above him on the northeast corner.
This next picture shows the location of the E&B bldg, which is just north of the Powers Bldg.
I found that my parking spot across from E&B was still open.
This time I focused on Dot.ca who seemed to come up empty on finding any more leftovers.
Dot.ca took off and flew directly over me. He turned and headed for Beauty. She raised her tail as he approached and I witnessed a near miss copulation. Yes indeed, spring was in the air. lol
They both took off, and it was time for me to end my downtown falcon watch.
So who are Ellwanger and Barry. I was curious, so I googled it. ”George Ellwanger and Patrick Barry were owners of one of the largest nurseries in The Flower City. Ellwanger began the business in 1839 with Thomas Rogers but by 1840 he had bought Rogers out and partnered with Barry who was more knowledgeable than Rogers.” You can read more about them at RocWiki:
I checked Seneca Towers next and found both Billie and Seth on the north side window ledge. Sorry for the poor picture. I was facing the sun at quite a distance.
At Medley Center, I found no falcons. But, there were two adult Red-tailed Hawks flying above the old mall. I loved watching their aerial ballet. They both landed in a tree on the other side of Rte 104 and then both left the area heading west.
It was such a nice day, I decided to check out the Irondequoit Bay. There were a lot of Ring-billed Gulls floating on what was left of a very large ice flow, which was slowly making its way north, towards the lake (Lake Ontario). Mixed in were a few Black-backed Gulls. I saw some Canada Geese and one Cormorant. No birds of prey were in view.
My watch ended with a quick check at Russell Station, where I found no falcons. I ended my watch, happy to have seen some courtship behavior by our downtown pair on a mid-winter, spring day. :)